And Then There Were Five...

The final days are winding down for the 2004 recruiting effort. Notre Dame still has five players left on the board. Expect decisions from some of them very soon.

Offensive tackle Allen Smith will announce today. So far, no indication is known where he might be signing. As I always say, it usually leaks from the school that is likely to sign him. So far, I haven't heard of any leaks from any of his top four. This one could go down to the wire.

Darryl Richard is said to be deciding soon. It could come this weekend. Rumors have the Irish out of the picture. We've felt that the Irish were slipping for the last few weeks. It's possible the Irish could land him. We don't feel very confident at this point.

Terrail Lambert is still set to announce on signing day, but could decide sooner. So far, not much has leaked on his decision. We know the family prefers Notre Dame. Keep watching the Florida State situation at defensive back. Another thing to watch out for is if Florida State starts to fill up, and Lambert moves up his decision. Putting two and two together in that scenario might indicate that he is choosing Florida State. We'll have to wait and see.

Christopher Vaughn will be visited by the UCLA coaches today. Tyrone Willingham is set to visit Vaughn sometime on Saturday. Iowa lost local wide receiver Adrian Arrington to Michigan. Expect the Iowa coaches to turn up the heat on Vaughn. We expect Vaughn to make a decision before signing day, but he might hold out until the end.

Ell Ash will visit this weekend. We believe the Irish have considerable ground to make up after entering late in the picture. Still, this has been done many times before. He must have some interest or he would not make the visit. His dad is also making the visit with him this weekend. Can the Irish overcome the late start? We likely won't know until around signing day.

The Smith decision today will be critical. Having the last word is always an advantage, and having the experience at Notre Dame fresh in his memory will certainly help. Smith might be the most important recruit left on the board because the need for offensive tackles at Notre Dame.

As I've stated before, it's important to remember that at this point in recruiting a staff should only take players they are sure are going to help them. Taking a player who they might have some doubts about would not be wise. The Irish have zeroed in on these five prospects because they believe all can help them in the future. They might land all, some or none of these prospects. Well have to wait to find out.

At any rate, it makes no sense to take prospects just to take prospects. The Irish staff is smart for making the hard decisions. If they lose out on most of these guys they will still have a scholarship next year for a player who can help them with their goals. Irish fans might not be happy with the end results of this class, but will be very happy they have extra scholarships to give the following year. Top Stories